Themes: Our Creativy Diversity
A new global ethics
A commitment to pluralism
Challenges of a media-rich world
recasting cultural policies
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pijltje.gif (895 bytes) Why we need a global ethics
Culture in search of a global ethics
Sources of a global ethics
The main elements of a global ethics
Global ethics in global governance
The role of a global ethics
To whom it may concern

A new global ethics
Why we need a global ethics

Development is a complex and ambitious endeavour. To secure for all human beings in all parts of the world the conditions allowing a decent and meaningful life requires enormous human energies and far-reaching changes in policies. The task is all the more demanding as the world faces numerous other problems, each related to or even part of the development challenge, each similarly pressing, and each calling for the same urgent attention. But, as Arnold Toynbee has said, "Our age is the first generation since the dawn of history in which mankind dares to believe it practical to make the benefits of civilization available to the whole human race."

The magnitude of these problems is without precedent. Achieving significant improvements will depend on the co-operation and the good will of innumerable people all over the world. Securing a better future for all may involve sacrifices and will require profound changes in attitudes (including cultural attitudes) and behaviour, not least in people's social priorities, the educational system, the patterns of consumption, and even the most basic beliefs about how the individual should relate to society and the earth. Governments and political leaders will have to play a crucial role in convincing their citizens of the need for change and in suggesting novel political, economic and social strategies. Yet much will depend on the citizens' own willingness to confront the disturbing facts, to draw their own conclusions, and put them into practice in daily life. It will also depend on their ability to make governments responsive to social needs and demands.

Ever since the emergence of Homo Sapiens, human groups have been able to exchange discoveries and innovations, institutional experience and knowledge. Societies have evolved through the co-operation of peoples with contrasting cultures and it is important to promote cultural conviviality, through new socio-political agreements that should be negotiated in the framework of a global ethics.

Co-operation between different peoples with different interests and from different cultures will be facilitated and conflict kept within acceptable and even constructive limits, if participants can see themselves as being bound and motivated by shared commitments. It is, therefore, imperative to look for a core of shared ethical values and principles.

Undoubtedly, the potential for positive change resides in the values that determine our behaviour. The Commission considers it one of its tasks to sketch the contours of a global ethics and to examine what contribution culture can make. In its search for a new ethical orientation, the Commission is not alone but rather resumes various efforts already being undertaken by a number of thinkers and by the recent Commission on Global Governance. The realities of the emerging global neighbourhood require, says the body's report, that

[We] should develop a global ethics that applies equally to all those involved in world affairs. Its efficacy will depend on the ability of people and governments to transcend narrow self-interests and agree that the interests of humanity as a whole will be best served by acceptance of a set of common rights and responsibilities.

This points to where we must go. The idea is that the values and principles of a global ethics should be the shared points of reference, providing the minimal moral guidance the world must heed in its manifold efforts to tackle the global issues outlined above.

pijltje.gif (895 bytes) Why we need a global ethics
Culture in search of a global ethics
Sources of a global ethics
The main elements of a global ethics
Global ethics in global governance
The role of a global ethics
To whom it may concern

pijltje_beneden.gif (179 bytes) A new global ethics
Introduction
Summary
Report text
pijltje.gif (179 bytes) A commitment to pluralism
pijltje.gif (179 bytes) Challenges of a media-rich world
pijltje.gif (179 bytes) Recasting cultural policies
General introduction
General summary
Review
Background Intergovernmental conference on Cultural Policies for Development
our creative diversity